Ptolemaic sarcophagus mask

Object number
Impressive wood relief of an idealized face. Remains of paint. The mask was part of a sarcophagus lid from Ancient Egypt during ptolemaic rule.
Object: Ptolemaic sarcophagus mask

Material: Wood. Remains of white stucco and red and black paint.

Period: Ptolemaic period of Ancient Egypt,
4th century BC to 1st century BC.

Description:    The Egyptian sarcophagus mask is a wooden relief showing a frontal view of an idealized face. The face was colored in red, painted on a layer of white stucco. The eyes were outlined in black. Remains of the stucco and paint are still visible. The rear is flat and was once attached to the sarcophagus. The face was integrated in the overall design of the sarcophagus lid.
Since a few centuries, Egyptian sarcophagus masks are extremly popular in Ancient Egypt collections. The life like appearance of the faces are fascinating and like a looking glass into the past.

Background: The face mask was the head piece mounted on the outside of a sarcophagus of the ancient Egyptians. Such painted face masks were attached to the coffin by wooden pins. The head dress was formed out of stucco and applied above the mask.

Dimensions: Approx. 18cm length, approx. 11cm width, approx. 6cm depth.

Condition: Some cracks and hole in the wood, parts of the original pins for attachment present. Some parts of the white stucco with red and black paint are still visible. Nice state of preservation for an ancient piece of painted wood. Old sticker from Davies Antiques attached to the back side with text "75A IX CPAO".

Provenance: Acquired by us in 2017 from the private posession of M. Voos, Germany. Inherited by M. Voos from the Germany private collection H. Herbst. Acquired approx. in 1976 at Davies Antiques, London for the Herbst collection and brought to Germany (a copy of the original invoice is available).

References: Cf. Alte Roemer Gallery Archive, item no. 0251EGY0209 (temporarily with the museum collection of the Archaeological Institute of Heidelberg University and in the archaeological exhibition of the work group for biblical archaeology in Wetzgau/Schwaebisch Gmuend).

Literature: S. Walker, M. Bierbrier: Ancient Faces, Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt (Part IV of the Catalogue of Roman Portraits in the British Museum).

Authenticity: We guarantee the authenticity of this object and all works of ancient art sold by us for life.